Universal Food Insurance

Published on: Sat Nov 22 2008

This is an exercise for the class I am taking on “The Enlightenment”. The goal is to write a satirical essay in the form of Jonathan Swift, on a current social issue. Why is it necessary to have health insurance? And why do doctors not know the price of their services? If I go in the morning to buy a loaf of bread from the Baker, he says “99 cents”, I hand over my pennies and leave with a loaf of bread. In this manner both the Baker and I, are satisfied. Now in this country there is a great uproar demanding “Universal health insurance”. Might it not be more prudent to simply pay our doctors a fair price when we require their services? Or perhaps we need to have insurance for simply everything. Really, if healthcare is as important as eating our daily bread is, we simply must have a universal insurance system in place to make sure we are able to receive food for a low co-payment from any grocery store of our choice, including those tasty gourmet ones that offer olive bars and fancy cheese selections. We must start by eliminating employer provided lunches, which are doing an unsatisfactory job of providing free lunches and do not completely take care of the necessary food coverage elements.The best alternative to the haphazard free lunch system is a national system of Universal Food Insurance. Our expert Food Insurance establishment will collect premiums from the citizens of our land, and then fairly re-distribute the payments to each grocery store, restaurant, deli and fast food establishment. We will no longer need to concern ourselves with the price of bread or milk. Grocers, just like Doctors, will no longer answer the question of “How much does this cost?” instead grocery stores will finally be able to answer “It depends….” and the nasty business of pricing will simply vanish from the public mind. The reason we need Universal Food Insurance, is that right now, there are some citizens who are suffering from a disease, and require very expensive food to be cured. The problem lies with a mental illness (Incurable, due to the lack of Health Insurance), which causes intense hunger unless the subject is able to eat at least two pounds per day of the worlds most rare delicacy, Hare-Brained-Chicken. The unfortunate individuals who suffer from this illness will be the ones who will most benefit from the “Universal Food Insurance” system. Right now sufferers are in the illogical position of being too hungry to work, which forces only the ill ones to drop out of our current system of Employer provided free lunches. Studies show that up to 80% of current food costs come from providing Hare-Brained-Chicken to the few who suffer from this little understood food craving.[1] Universal Food insurance will be covered for all food essential services, including our primary meals (three a day), inpatient food services (restaurants included), outpatient food delivery (take-out too), emergency food offerings (A la 3am drive-thru), prescription blended foods (the olive bar), food preparation equipment (kitchens for all), long term food provisioning (stock your cabinets with canned goods), even mental food care (Ice Cream). Universal Food Insurance will not include unnecessary food services, and grocery stores will now be permitted to sell ugly produce.[2] Private Food insurance would still be available to those who wish to purchase it. The Private food insurance industry will be limited to providing insurance for non-essential foods, things like ‘pretty strawberries’, and perfectly round cookies. We will have to set annual reimbursement rates for all grocery stores, as well as craft an annual food provisioning budget. The grocery stores will need to adjust their current check out systems to provide a simple form for each shopper to fill out so we can keep track of who is consuming what food, and we might need to create a minor income tax to make sure the system is well funded. We will only tax the top 5% of the population so 95% of the population need not worry about additional taxes. Each year we will print and distribute a list detailing all of the covered food’s and services, along with a list of the required Co-payments for various items. Price tags in the store will be adjusted to indicate if the good is included in the Universal Food Insurance Program or if Private Insurance is required. The price itself will not actually be listed. The grocery stores will send out bills thirty days later if a shopper inadvertently purchases a non-covered item. Under this proposition a family of four, who now spends anywhere from $3,000 to $120,000 on food related costs annually would only spend approximately $1500 under our new Food Insurance Plan. The national problem of bankruptcies due to food costs will be eliminated. Currently 50% of all bankruptcies are the result of inadequate Food Insurance.[3] This method may sound excessive to some, but consider, if you are ever inflicted with a hunger related illness our system will work to take care of you. It may seem like a better method might be to simply provide Food insurance for those of you who come down with intense cravings for Hare-Brained-Chicken, but it has been found that having access to strong primary food is a leading preventative measure to the suffering caused by Hare-Brained-Chicken. Some might say the current system, of buying food for a set price is ideal. But we have done studies which show that food costs are reduced when premiums are paid to a central agency, which then re-distributes the wealth to the many diverse suppliers of food.[4] Some argue that improvements to the existing practice of “Employer Provided Lunches” are necessary for the implementation of universal Food Insurance coverage, because it makes perfect sense that only individuals who are well fed enough to go to work have access to Food Insurance. Either way, the current situation of inadequate Food Insurance must be addressed. Committees need to be formed and special interest groups must continue their lobbying to make sure everyone is provided with the best foodcare possible. Above all it is necessary to make sure Grocers no longer provide information on the prices of the goods offered for sale. This practice of delivering goods based on price, not on need, is unfair and discriminatory. Currently those who hardly need it are snacking on all of our Hare-Brained-Chicken, while prices for “Employer Provided Free Lunch” coverage, continue to rise each year. While I am far from an expert on the many details of Healthcare, my limited experience so far revolves around the inability to get a straight price for a service from a Doctors Office and filling out long forms. Not to mention receiving a price, then receiving a price for the ‘Real Cost’ thirty days later. As a youthful member of society I would be happy to pay into a “Serious Illness” fund, but for right now I have a hard time understanding why it is that I must pay $250 dollars a month (Employer Provided Lunch) for the right to visit a doctor if I need to, but if by chance I become seriously ill I would lose my ability to work and along with it my health insurance. Perhaps with time greater understanding will come to me, but I think it would be of great benefit to everyone if Doctors would just tell the world their prices.